French Harvards in Combat

Left – The picture above shows a french T-6G2 from EALA 2/72 taken in Batna (Algeria) between spring 1958 and 1959. The planes are painted aluminium with no rudder national colours and no fuselage roundels. These type of markings being introduced gradually from the spring of 1958. The French AF roundels can be seen on the wings of both T-6s in the background and the pilot presents the EALA’s insignia in front of him. As many T-6 were sold to foreign nations involved in COIN operations in the sixties, it’s possible that this one went to Portuguese AF. But unfortunately, no serial number is visible, so this particular T-6 cannot be identified as cannot be his later fate. (Caption by Hervé Barbon)

The T-6G was also used in a light attack or counter insurgency role by France during the Algerian War in special Escadrilles d’Aviation Légère d’Appui (EALA), armed with machine guns, bombs and rockets. At its peak, 38 EALAs were active. The largest unit was the Groupe d’Aviation Légère d’Appui 72, which consisted of up to 21 EALAs.





T-6G 51-14394 seen over Algeria with the French Air Force. Originally AT-6C 48-1368. Served with the 148th Fighter Group at George AFB, California until 1953 and then in 1956 was shipped to France where it was modified for ground attack operations in Algeria. One of the few survivors it was struck off charge in 1965 and then stored until Feb 1976, when it was sold overseas to the USA becoming N394NA in 1988. It First flew on the 27 July 1989 and that year it won Reserve Grand Warbird Champion at Oshkosh. Written by – Martin Pengelly